Who is Cedric Moore Jr? Missouri man, 28, who sucker-punched street dancer, 12, jailed for 7 years
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MISSOURI: A Missouri man was sentenced to seven years in jail on May after being captured on camera sucker-punching a 12-year-old boy who was dancing on the sidewalk on Friday, July 3, 2020. The Southeast Missourian reported that Cedric Charles Moore Jr of Cape Girardeau pled guilty to second-degree assault on May 10. Earlier in May, he had altered his plea.
Moore, a 28-year-old man, was last seen exiting a black SUV near the intersection of Main and Independence Streets in downtown Cape Girardeau on a July evening. He silently walked up behind Ethan Hagler, 12, as he danced on a sidewalk near his teacher, Michael Curry, and another boy, and wound up his right arm, delivering a punch to the child's face. The brutality against the child is a reminder of a December 2020 incident where a Missouri duo in 2020 killed a 4-year-old girl and left her to die in a freezing pond.
Who is Cedric Moore Jr?
Cedric Charles Moore Jr of Cape Girardeau has a criminal history stretching back to before the assault on Hagler. He was sentenced to probation for domestic abuse in April 2019. In the same year, he pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree and driving while intoxicated. Moore's own child's mother was also given a protective order against him.
"The public has understandably expressed a desire to see Moore charged with a hate crime for this heinous crime," the Cape Girardeau Police Department said in a statement at the time. "In accordance with state statutes, this charge would only apply if the assault was categorized to a lesser degree, which would not be in the best interest of seeking true justice for the victim." Moore was not charged with a hate crime, according to authorities, because that would have resulted in a less severe penalty.
What happened to Ethan Hagler?
Hagler, a Fingerprint Dance Studio dancer, was injured with a bleeding nose and a minor concussion. He was taken to the hospital and treated before being released. Curry, his teacher, said he is well in an interview with the Southeast Missourian. In July last year, the video of the terrible assault went viral after it was released online. It was part of a Facebook live stream that Curry said he sets up every time they street dance. The footage had shown Moore dancing toward the group. On noticing him, Curry said he thought little of it as he said oftentimes people would get out of their cars and dance with the kids or even tip them.
Watch the video here. Trigger Warning: Graphic content
"And all of a sudden I see him punch my kid, and instantly, my first reaction is, "What? Why?"' Curry said to KSDK-TV in the days after the attack. "You know, I tried to chase [Moore] back to the car. And as soon as I got the car, I saw there was two other people in the car. So I had to think about my child. He’s laying on the ground. And from there, it was a lot of people that came up to help, especially Shaker’s, the bar downtown that we usually set up in front of," he said.
The Internet was stunned by the footage, which spurred Good Samaritans on Facebook to collect over $17,000 for the dance studio as well as any medical bills incurred as a result of the assault.
"I've never seen a tougher, braver kid, especially in that kind of a situation. You know, he just held his head back," said Ethan's mom, Stephanie Hagler. "He was not going to let somebody see him cry. He was so strong and so brave when he had no reason to have to be so."
Moore then turned himself in peacefully to the Scott County Sheriff's Office on July 8, 2020 at approximately 3:50 pm. At the time of Moore's arrest, he was charged with Felony Assault in the 2nd Degree and Felony Child Endangerment in the 1st Degree due to the age of the victim and the violence of the act. Moore’s bond had been set at $50,000.00 cash only.